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No Place on Earth

Score: 90%
Rating: PG-13
Publisher: Magnolia Home Entertainment
Region: A
Media: Blu-ray/1
Running Time: 83 Mins.
Genre: Documentary
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Features:

  • The Stermers After the War
  • Korolowka Before the War
  • More About Life in the Caves
  • Food
  • The Children
  • David Blitzer (Simaís Husband): His Holocaust Story
  • Harold Hochman (Soniaís Husband): His Holocaust Story
  • Chris Nicola Adventure Caving in Slovakia
  • Chris Nicola Adventure Caving in the USA
  • Photo Galleries
  • Trailer

No Place On Earth is a documentary/ re-enactment of the year and a half several Jewish families in the Ukraine spent living underground in huge caves as they hid from the Nazis. It all started some 20 years ago when avid caver and New York investigator Chris Nicola found himself spelunkering in the labyrinthine caves of the Ukraine. He began to discover items that simply didnít belong there. Womenís shoes, cups and bowls, furniture crafted out of wood and carved into the stone itself. He began asking around the village, but since we are talking about a recently post-Cold War era Ukraine, the townsfolk werenít too eager to speak up. One of them mentioned that it might have been Jews living underground and so began Nicolaís decade-long obsession with finding out about the people who lived underground.

His research took him quite some time to compile and he was shocked to find many of the family members living a very short distance from him in New York, as well as some living in Montreal. He learned the stories of the Stermer and Dodyk families, as well as a few others that lived with them, and what it was like to exist underground for such an extended period of time. The horror and fear that they must have experienced during what is arguably modern mankindís darkest hour is only outdone by their passionate and undefeatable spirit of survival. I really enjoyed seeing the re-enactments by actors, then having the film flip to the actual family members who could tell these stories in their own words. As the icing on the cake, Nicola takes them back to the Ukraine to revisit the caves and some of these folks are in their 90ís and they still did it! It was truly heartwarming and sad at the same time.

No Place On Earth looks great on Blu-ray, but much of the film is spent in the darkness of the caves. However, during the times where the viewer is treated to lovely snow-covered vistas or their quaint Ukraine village, the picture is crystal clear.

No Place On Earth is a wonderful documentary and well worth a watch by anyone interested in this time period and the amazing resiliency of the Jewish people. My only complaint is that the editing wasnít so great on the special features where the family members went into more detail about life in the caves. These are clearly clips that were cut from the main film, but when they begin, you can see the peopleís mouths moving, but the sound doesnít kick in so you miss the first few words. This could be an issue with watching it on the PS3, however, since that is my primary Blu-ray player.

Aside from that, the film is great and has a number of special features that, again, are edited clips but do provide some extra background and give viewers a peek into Nicolaís adventures while caving. Recommended.



-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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